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Career profile Fine Artist

Also known as Artist, Automotive Artist, Blacksmith, Fine Artist, Ice Carver, Illustrator, Muralist, Painter, Portrait Artist, Sculptor

Fine Artist

Also known as Artist, Automotive Artist, Blacksmith

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$19,570 - $122,900 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Design
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Use materials such as pens and ink, watercolors, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Integrate and develop visual elements, such as line, space, mass, color, and perspective, to produce desired effects, such as the illustration of ideas, emotions, or moods.
  • Model substances such as clay or wax, using fingers and small hand tools to form objects.
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What does a Fine Artist do?

Fine Artists create original artwork using any of a wide variety of media and techniques.

What kind of tasks does a Fine Artist perform regularly?

Fine Artists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Use materials such as pens and ink, watercolors, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Integrate and develop visual elements, such as line, space, mass, color, and perspective, to produce desired effects, such as the illustration of ideas, emotions, or moods.
  • Confer with clients, editors, writers, art directors, and other interested parties regarding the nature and content of artwork to be produced.
  • Maintain portfolios of artistic work to demonstrate styles, interests, and abilities.
  • Market artwork through brochures, mailings, or Web sites.
  • Study different techniques to learn how to apply them to artistic endeavors.
  • Monitor events, trends, and other circumstances, research specific subject areas, attend art exhibitions, and read art publications to develop ideas and keep current on art world activities.
  • Photograph objects, places, or scenes for reference material.

The above responsibilities are specific to Fine Artists. More generally, Fine Artists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

What is a Fine Artist salary?

The median salary for a Fine Artist is $52,340, and the average salary is $65,020. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Fine Artist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Fine Artists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Fine Artists earn less than $19,570 per year, 25% earn less than $31,200, 75% earn less than $78,410, and 90% earn less than $122,900.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Fine Artists is expected to change by 17.4%, and there should be roughly 3,300 open positions for Fine Artists every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$19,570 - $122,900
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Fine Artists?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Fine Artist are usually higher in their Artistic and Realistic interests.

Fine Artists typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Fine Artists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Fine Artist tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Fine Artists strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Fine Artists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Fine Artists moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Fine Artists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Fine Artists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Fine Artists need?

Fine Artists often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Fine Artists usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Fine Artists

  • 2.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 11.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 18.9% completed some college coursework
  • 8.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 43.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 13.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Fine Artists

Fine Artists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as design, computers and electronics, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Fine Artists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Fine Artists

Fine Artists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Fine Artists need abilities such as originality, fluency of ideas, and visualization in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Fine Artists, ranked by their relative importance.

The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Visual Color Discrimination
The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

Critical Skills needed by Fine Artists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Fine Artists frequently use skills like critical thinking, active learning, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Fine Artists, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.